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homeless

Mock-up of the Compass Crossing pilot project.
Courtesy of Compass Housing Alliance

Ross Reynolds talks to Janet Pope, executive director of the Compass Housing Alliance. The group has been trying to build lower cost modular housing for homeless and low-income people for several years now. We look at why it's taking so long and what difference the modular style of building might make.

Mikel Kowalcyk, a former drug user, is an outreach coordinator at REACH, a program founded by Evergreen Treatment Services to provide resources to people battling drug addiction and homelessness in Seattle.
Jasmine Aguilera

In Seattle’s bustling downtown, hundreds of people are living on the streets and battling drug addiction.

That’s also where social worker Mikel Kowalcyk believes she can make a real difference.

Inside the mega tent set up by the City of Tacoma after declaring a state of public health emergency
Photo courtesy of the City of Tacoma

Everyone agrees that homelessness is a crisis in Seattle, but there are differing views about who is being impacted and what should be done. In public forums, homeless service organizations regularly butt heads over these ideas with frustrated homeowners.

But what about doctors?

KUOW PHOTO / CASEY MARTIN

At Pearl Jam’s first Home Show Wednesday night, front man Eddie Vedder dedicated their hit song, “Evenflow,” to another Eddie.


Volunteers set up sleeping mats at ROOTS Young Adult Shelter on Tuesday, July 10, 2018, in Seattle. The shelter can accommodate up to 45 young adults a night.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

The city of Seattle will penalize homeless service providers that failed to meet housing goals in the second quarter of this year. That's according to a letter sent to providers in May.

Tiny homes are shown on Wednesday, March 21, 2018, at the Licton Springs Tiny House Village on Aurora Avenue North in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Changes are coming to the tiny house village in Seattle’s Licton Springs neighborhood.

Amid concerns from neighbors and uncertainty about whether the City of Seattle will renew the camp’s permit to remain on Aurora Avenue North, the site is getting tighter security and improvements for its homeless residents.

Milee Ballweg, 20, sits on the steps of a University District church where she sleeps just after 5 a.m. on Wednesday, July 11, 2018, in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Nostalgia thrives on the Ave.

That’s University Way Northeast to cartographers, a street that pounds with construction and smells of $6.99 Thai lunch specials and bus exhaust.

Last week, KUOW and news organizations throughout Seattle partnered for #SeaHomeless media day.

We asked our audience to submit questions about homelessness in our region.

Between the Evergrey, Crosscut, ParentMap, Patch, Real Change and the Seattle P-I, we received more than 400 submissions.

Now, we ask for your help deciding which question KUOW will answer.

Milee Ballweg, 20, sits on the steps of a church in the University District where she sleeps just after 5:00 a.m. on Wednesday, July 11, 2018, in Seattle.
KUOW photo/Megan Farmer

Milee Ballweg sleeps on the steps of a church in Seattle’s University District.

She’s 20, her hair is blonde tinged with pink, and she wears ripped jeans and a Pokémon T-shirt. She sleeps wrapped in gray packing blankets that cover her face.

Tiny houses being erected at Othello Village in South Seattle.
Courtesy of Low Income Housing Institute

Tiny house villages in Seattle are meant to shelter people who are homeless. The small modular shelters offer a roof and a community. However, the city is currently being sued over a tiny house village planned for South Lake Union, and a Seattle Times investigation found that the Wallingford site had no case management for more than three months.

Seattle City Hall
Flickr Photo/Daniel X. O'Neil (CC-BY-NC-ND)/http://bit.ly/1OGMTuh

By day, the lobby at Seattle City Hall bustles with lawmakers, city employees, and members of the public keen to be heard at council meetings.

Now, by night, it will become home to rows of mats, set out for homeless men and women who need a place to sleep.

Protesters occupy the sidewalk and into the street during the Solidarity Day protest outside of the Federal Detention Center in SeaTac.
Daniel Berman for KUOW

Bill Radke talks to our panelists about the 'Familes Belong Together' protests across the country over the weekend, including the rally at the SeaTac Federal Detention Center. We also discuss what the end of the Sasquatch music festival means for the city's arts scene, and if the City of Seattle's app should be used to report homeless encampments.

Josephine Ensign, director of the University of Washington's Doorway Project for homeless youth
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

There's a lot of money in Seattle these days. Companies like Amazon and Starbucks are based here, and construction has been booming. But our city has one of the biggest homelessness problems in the country.

Our listeners are wondering about that disconnect. And they've been asking us questions about the issue.


Head tax opponents and supporters crowd Seattle City Hall on Tuesday, June 12, 2018.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Bill Radke talks to two businesses that opposed the head tax about what solutions they're hoping to see, now that the head tax has been repealed. What do Seattle businesses need to do now? What's their responsibility?

Kailyn Nicholson, center, joins in on a chant led by Emerson Johnson, left, on Tuesday, June 12, 2018, inside City Council Chambers at City Hall in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

It was called a head tax, but maybe it should have been called the Robin Hood tax.


Caitlin Lee raises a Tax Amazon sign in front of Seattle City Council members on Monday, May 14, 2018, during a head tax vote at City Hall in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

It only took the Seattle City Council four weeks to double-back on their vote to tax big businesses in order to pay for affordable housing and homelessness services.


Colleen Echohawk-Hayashi and Gyasi Ross.
KUOW Photo/Gil Aegerter

You know the drainage pipes you sometimes see sticking out from underneath a road? They're called culverts. And they're creating a division between Washington tribes and state attorney general Bob Ferguson. The sovereign nations claim that Ferguson is failing to uphold their treaty rights; in response, he's escalated the lawsuit to the Supreme Court of the United States.


The Union Gospel Mission works with Operation Nightwatch to fill up its spare beds at the end of the night.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Seattle has a hiring clause that prevents it from giving money to organizations that discriminate. But it also appears that the city knew about the Union Gospel Mission’s hiring practices when it contracted with the organization to clear out the Jungle.

KUOW Photo/Ruby de Luna

The next time you walk by Third Avenue and James Street in downtown Seattle, you might notice a cluster of bronze leaves on the street.

They bear the names of some of the homeless people who have died over the last 15 years.


Ericka Frodsham 2018
Mike Kane for KUOW

In 2015, photographer Mike Kane met Ericka, a sex worker on Aurora Avenue North in Seattle. Ericka was selling sex to support her heroin and meth addiction, and she was so weak she believed she could be dead within a year. She was estranged from her three young daughters and spent many nights on the street. 


KUOW/Amy Radil

Backers of the campaign to repeal Seattle’s “head tax” won’t say how many signatures they’ve gathered, but they’re optimistic.


Homeless RV
Flickr Photo/A. Kwanten (CC BY NC ND 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/Bv6MSo

This year’s point-in-time count of people living without homes in King County showed yet another increase of those living on the streets. 

But among people who are experiencing homelessness, the sharpest uptick — by a whopping 46 percent — came from people increasingly living in their cars, RVs, and vans. This year, vehicle residents made up more than half of the people counted who were living outside. 

Carol Duescher currently lives in her car.
KUOW photo/David Hyde

The number of chronically homeless people in King County is up 28 percent this year, according to the latest look at the homeless population, which was released today.  

Compare that to the experience in Utah, which slashed chronic homelessness over a 10-year period. "I think Seattle could do the same thing, if that was a priority," said Joe Camacho, who lives in a shelter near the Space Needle.


Homeless encampment along a road in the Sodo area of Seattle.
KUOW Photo/John Ryan

Bill Radke talks to Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan about the annual report out today showing a 4 percent increase in the number of homeless people in King County.

Volunteers count the number of people experiencing homelessness during the annual King County Point-In-Time count on Friday, January 25, 2018, in Pioneer Square.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

On a single night in January, more than 12,000 people were counted as homeless throughout Seattle and King County.


The entrance to a homeless shelter on Third Avenue in Seattle.
KUOW File Photo/John Ryan

Seattle mayor Jenny Durkan wants to significantly increase shelter capacity for people experiencing homelessness in the city over the next three months.

Using money from the sale of a city-owned property in South Lake Union, Durkan is proposing increasing the number of shelter spots available by 25 percent by the end of August.


Homeless families outside a shelter in downtown Seattle
KUOW Photo/John Ryan

Seattle made some big shifts in its approach to homeless services last year, including signing new contracts that gave the city the ability to ding service providers that don’t get enough people into permanent housing.

For the first time in more than a decade, the city competitively bid roughly $34 million in service contracts, which included “pay for performance” measures.

Now the city has softened on this policy. Providers who don’t meet the standards in the first quarter of this year will get a pass. 

Downtown Seattle accounts for more than half the city's construction investments, according to DSA.
KUOW Photo File/Megan Farmer

The bloom is off the boom.


Seattle Police Officer and Navigation Team member Brad Devore offers services and shelter to campers
KUOW photo/Kate Walters

On a sunny May morning, the Alaskan Way Viaduct throws long shadows over a line of tents.

This cluster of tents is here illegally, one of about 400 unauthorized encampments in Seattle. It’s been cleared nine times this year, according to the city, including once this week.

Sara Rankin, director of Seattle University's Homeless Rights Advocacy Project.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

One big question people have asked in the conversation about homelessness and affordability is: can we trust the city to spend this money effectively?


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